If it hasn’t already happened to you, it will: you’re going to lock your keys in the car, lock yourself out of the house or find out that a lock rusted shut over the winter.
You’re going to need a locksmith.
It happens to everyone, and yet it’s a need now complicated by con artists; it seems locksmith scams are on the rise.
Typically, victims start by searching online for a locksmith. They call a random listing and get a reasonable-sounding estimate over the phone. When the “locksmith” actually shows up, however, they start adding charges until the price is completely out of line. Since most people in need of a locksmith are in a tight spot, they often end up paying. Sometimes, as a bonus, the phony locksmith will damage your property.
How do you avoid this scam? Choose a locksmith now, before you need one. Either get one you’ve used before and already know to be trustworthy, or check out the Better Business Bureau and online reviews. Make sure you’re dealing with an actual local business instead of having your call routed to a national number, and refuse to use any locksmith that only accepts cash payment.
Once you’ve got your locksmith, save the number in your mobile phone and keep it handy at home.
When you’re away from home, it’s a little trickier to choose one on the fly, but you can still watch out for warning signs like rapidly-escalating costs and cash-only operations.